Target declined to confirm which items were removed, but among the items that drew the most attention were “tuck-in-friendly” swimsuits for adult women, which allow trans women who have not undergone gender-affirming surgery to have their private parts covered hide.
Target is the latest company to face backlash over LGBTQ+ support and is pulling some clothing items for Pride month
By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AP Retail Writer
New York • Target is removing some items from its stores nationwide ahead of Pride month and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide after some customers faced backlash against the company, who scolded workers and upended displays.
“Since the launch of this year’s collection, we have experienced threats that impact the sense of security and well-being of our team members at work,” Target said in a statement Tuesday. “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing elements that have been the focus of the most significant confrontational behavior.”
Target said customers in some stores were smashing Pride displays, lashing out at workers and posting threatening videos on social media from inside stores.
Target declined to specify Wednesday which items were removed, but among the items that drew the most attention were “tuck-in-friendly” women’s swimsuits, which allow trans women who have not undergone gender-affirming surgery to hide their privates . Designs by Rebound, a London-based company that designs and sells occult and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, have also drawn backlash.
Pride merchandise has been on sale since early May. Pride month occurs in June.
Target confirmed it has moved its Pride merchandise from the front of stores to the back at some stores in the South following confrontations and backlash from shoppers in those areas.
Target’s response to confrontations at its stores is occurring as state legislatures introduce a record number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced to state legislatures since the beginning of this year, an unprecedented number.
These efforts focus on health, particularly gender-responsive health care for transgender youth, and education. State legislatures are pushing to prevent discussions about sex and gender identity in schools.
At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or prohibiting gender-based tutoring for transgender minors, but judges in some, including Arkansas, have temporarily blocked enforcement. An Associated Press analysis found that these bills often came not from the grassroots or from voter demand, but from a handful of conservative interest groups.
Target’s Pride Monthly Collection has also been the subject of several misleading videos over the past few weeks, with social media users falsely claiming that the retailer sells “tuck-friendly” swimsuits in children’s or children’s sizes.
The moves come as beer brand Bud Light is still grappling with backlash from customers angry at trying to expand its customer base through a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light’s parent company said it will triple its US marketing spend this summer to recover sales lost from the brand’s partnership with the transgender influencer.
Minnesota-based Target and other retailers, including Walmart and H&M, have been expanding their LGBTQ+ displays to celebrate Pride Month for about a decade. This year, transgender issues — including gender-responsive health care and participation in sports — have been a controversial issue in state legislatures, and backlash has turned hostile.